It is that time of the week again when 'Orrible Punt sits down in the Planet Rugby hot-seat to give you his calls. Brace yourself for November's Tests.
Remember you can contact Russ with all your comments and questions on Twitter - @rpetty80.
There isn't much to separate the form of these sides going into the game. Ireland have lost their last 5 matches and 7/10 games by an average score of 18-26. The damage is occurring after the break as they average a 10-12 score at half-time and 7-14 in the second-half in that run. Argentina have lost 7 of their last 11 games by an average of 18-28 and have won once in 9 matches. It's a fixture that is usually won by the home side with Argentina winning 5/7 on home soil and losing 7/7 in Ireland by an average score of 13-22. Ireland won the last 2 meetings by 20 and 14 points, while their opponents won the preceding 2 games by 15 and 16 points - however with ranking points at stake and mention of this being Ireland's 'cup final', I'm expecting a tighter affair. Los Pumas didn't get on well with Jaco Peyper in Buenos Aires and I think a home win by 1-10 points at 2.88 appeals.
The Wallabies have won all 16 games against the Azzurri by an average score of 36-13 and 9/9 games in Italy by 36-14. The 1.1 price for an away win isn't going to tempt so instead I'm looking to profit from Italy's usual first-half resistance. In the last 3 home meetings, Italy have led by 2 points, drawn and trailed by 4 against Australia. In the World Cup, the score was 6-6 at the break. The +8 half-time handicap would have been covered in 11/13 Italian home games and the visitors have been losing after 40 minutes in 7/9 games. Starting hooker Stephen Moore has said 'we can't push things early' and I am expecting the hosts to be competitive before fading later on. If you want a long shot, 4/13 of Italy's home games have been tied at half-time and it is 15.0 for that to occur again on Saturday. The main handicap of the Wallabies -14 would have landed in 11/16 clashes and the last 4 meetings as well.
Back in June, the Boks had a new coach, an untried second-row, had just played a round of Super Rugby fixtures, had what appeared to be an unbalanced back-row and the usually accurate Morne Steyn found his goal-kicking radar was off. They could however rely on their usual power game and overwhelmed England in the opening Tests. South African have improved since June and have a settled side whereas the hosts have made a number of changes and still look a long way from knowing their best XV and how they should play. The sides are quite similar in that neither dominate possession and both aren't afraid to kick it and have solid line-outs. South Africa do however look to play for territory far more often than the hosts. England spend very little time in the opposition 22, and whilst the Boks do, they also turnover a huge amount of ball there. England have beefed up their XV but ideally would be looking to play around rather than through their abrasive opponents. I'm not sure they are at that stage yet though and having won 9 of the last 10 meetings and I think South Africa +1 on the handicap and to win by 1-5 points at 6.0 seems generous. A look at Willem Alberts' stats shows he carries for double the amount of metres against England than other sides (and 2 tries in 3 games) so despite the fear of a low scoring game, I like his 7.0 anytime.
Scotland have an excellent record when facing teams from the Pacific Islands, winning 14/16 games by an average score of 29-17 and 9/10 at home by 29-15. The hosts have won both games against Tonga by over 20 points but have made a number of changes to the side and are up against a team stacked with big carriers. I'm leaning towards the visitors +15 on the handicap but main interest in this game will be on the scorers. Everyone's favourite front-row try-machine Sona Taumalolo crossed the line 9 times for the Chiefs, so an anytime scorer price of 13.0 with Sky Bet needs attention, while Tim Visser to score first at an admittedly short 8.0 will be popular. The prolific winger is 4.5 to score 2 or more tries, again it isn't very generous but may bring in the punters. There have been 8 Tongan yellow cards in their last 7 games and 4 already on tour, so the 1.53 for a sin binning looks useful.
Samoa have won 5 of their last 6 matches, with the only defeat caused by a last minute converted Scottish try. They are up against a French side that have scored over 30 points in their previous 3 outings and over 20 points in 7/9 games. I was happy to take that +14 point handicap for the islanders at the start of week, given it would have covered in 20/22 Samoan games going back to November 2009 - which incidentally was a 43-5 defeat in Paris. But I am a bit concerned with the selection of winger Robert Lilomaiava at full-back as I can't find much evidence of him playing there, but I am certain he will be tested. I prefer now the +8 half-time handicap for Samoa, an amount they would have covered in their last 6 games.
Wales have lost 25/28 games to the All Blacks and the last 24 in a row. The average score is 30-10 to New Zealand and 23-10 in matches played in Wales. If that head-to-head record wasn't enough, Wales have lost their last 5 games, while their opponents have won 18 of their last 19 matches. As you would expect the visitors dominate most of the stats this year, and possess a big advantage in both the line-out and offloading - which are areas that the Welsh have struggled with this year. Liam Williams may be having a fine season but it's a tough ask to start in this situation and despite the return of Warren Gatland, there aren't too many positives for the hosts. The number of handling errors that the All Blacks commit, the injury doubt over Dan Carter and the fact that the All Blacks have to lose sometime seem to be the common straws being clutched. The All Blacks have covered that -18 handicap in 4/7 games at the Millennium Stadium and 16 of the last 22 meetings overall. Wales struggled in June with referee Craig Joubert's officiating of the breakdown (specifically the tackler rolling away) and despite an aversion to big handicaps, I will be betting on Black this Saturday.
Looking further afield - a treble of Visser, Vincent Clerc and Julian Savea all to score is 9.0 (you can bump it up to 27.0 if you think the All Black finisher will score 2 or more). George Pisi and Juan Imhoff both to grab a try is 20.0, while a Robert Barbieri, Sona Taumalolo anytime try-scorer double pays out a juicy 117.0 with Sky Bet. Ireland and South Africa both to win by 1-12 points and New Zealand by 13+ pays out 9.0 while giving Wales +9 and both Samoa and Italy +7 points at half-time is 7.6. Finally, let's have a go on an accumulator of Argentina +12, Italy +21, South Africa +7, Tonga +20 and New Zealand -13 is 9.7.